Adventure, family, Fitness, grandchildren, prairie, running

Run Grandma Run

Did I mention that I’m a runner?  These days I dabble but I used to be pretty good and fairly fast.  I’ve run 14 marathons in the past 11 years.  Three of those marathons were the Boston Marathon – which means, it’s true.  I am/was pretty fast for an old lady.

(BTW: That picture up top – that’s me with my daughter-in-law.  Pretty fun to have a DIL that is willing to run with you!)

My last marathon, in June of 2017, was actually called Grandma’s Marathon.  I’ver never really known why its called that except for the restaurant (Grandma’s) near the finish line.  When I signed up for that race, there was a spot to check whether or not you were a grandma.  I checked that box.  But there was nothing extra in it. Not even a designation on my race bib.  Hmmm…

grandmas-marathon-logo
I’ll just note that those are NOT grandmas on that logo.

I’m not saying my marathon days are over but they might be. A significant amount of peer pressure might sway me but it would need to be significant.  It’s a lot of work, a lot of time, and I’m clearly no spring chicken.  I’m a grandma through and through.

Now I stick to middle distances likes half marathons or 10K’s.  I’ve run two half marathon’s this year and a Ragnar Relay.

This weekend I ran a half marathon – Big Woods Half Marathon.  I signed up for it about 6 months ago when it was on sale for $20.  As race day approached, I debated whether or not I’d do it.  I wasn’t feeling particularly well-trained and it was a different type of race than I was used.  It was a trail race – which is much different than a road race. It would be run through a state park.

My training had been a bit spotty – quite a bit of traveling for work and particularly poor weather for outdoor running. But then I’ve never NOT run a race I’ve signed up for.  Not once.  So I thought I’d just go, take it easy, and enjoy the lovely scenery.

The race location was a good hour from home.  When I left for the race early Saturday morning, it was lovely and clear, but cold.  It was a beautiful drive through some of Minnesota’s best farming country.

Fall and harvest is beautiful in Minnesota.  It reminds me a lot of the vast prairies of my homeland in Alberta, Canada.

One big difference is that instead of wide open fields of wheat, I see corn everywhere.  I’ve grown to love it like I loved the smell of wheat harvest in the fall in Canada.

There were beautiful farms and quaint little towns all along the way.  For some reason my GPS took me down every back road it could come up with.  I even got to try my skill on some gravel roads, thank you very much!img_3674-1

I finally arrived at the race location – a beautiful setting outside Faribault, Minnesota.  I’d never been there before but I’m glad I made the trip.  It was such a lovely drive.

As I got ready for the race to start, it was clear that I was surrounded by people who were familiar with this race, had done it before and were back for good reason.  I soon learned why.

img_3683-1
Yep – I know.  It’s a bit blurry.  You try taking a picture, while running!

Thirteen miles through the most beautiful, fall, forests.  It smelled wonderful; that distinct scent of wet and dying leaves.  img_3684-1Clearly, they’d had a lot of rain in this area because in addition to the beautiful foliage and sweet smells of autumn, were many, many, many puddles of mud.  The blackest mud I’ve ever seen!  I tried to avoid the mud as much as I could but it meant all sorts of detours to run around it.

It just became too exhausting to run around it so I just went through it.  I kept thinking of the book – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  I’ve read it so many times to the littles.  There’s the part where it goes “squelch squerch, squelch, squerch, squelch squerch” through the mud. That’s exactly what it felt like I was doing. 51pcSwQGWSL

img_3705-1

Well, ultimately I finished that race.  It was really hard.  I mean, so hard.  The best part of that race though, was the incredible hospitality of the sweet church ladies after the race.  It was the best post-race food I’ve ever had!  Hot soup, fresh bread, home made cookies … I’ll take that over a salted nut roll and bag of chips any day.

Today, I feel like I got hit by a bus.  I’m seriously getting too old for this.  But I’m glad I did it and plan to do it again next year.  I think this grandma might have another race or two in her!

Oh … I said earlier that I’ve never missed a race that I’d signed up for.  Well, that streak is about to end.  I signed up for race that is the same day as one my littles’ birthdays.  Easy decision – I’m going to celebrate that birthday out of state instead of running a race out of state.  Good choice!

Thank you to my fellow blogger over at Minnesota Prairie Roots who coincidentally mentioned the half marathon in her blog last week!  Reading her blog made me just a little more excited to run yesterday.

diet, family, Fitness, General, Uncategorized

Weight Loss and Age

At the end of August, we’re going hiking in Estes Park in Colorado.  Our athletic friends who are joining us said we’ll be going on a 7 mile (one way) hike.  Being concerned as one might be for the health and well-being of one’s spouse, I proposed a weight loss competition leading up to our hike.

StanleyHotelExterior1
YES!  We’re staying at the Stanley Hotel – but hopefully not in room 217!

My husband is always always always game for a competition (see image below) so he readily accepted the 6 week challenge.  The greater distance between the number on the scale at the beginning of the 6 weeks and the end of the 6 weeks will determine the winner.  The winner gets $150 shopping spree (which for me is ONE store – maybe TWO things). CAVEAT:  The loser has to accompany you on the shopping trip.

ME:   I run or bike most days – far – like 6+miles running/20+miles biking.  I don’t eat much junk food. Very little soda. Not a big fan of ice cream.  I’m not out of breath going up 2-3 flights of stairs.  I have a sit/stand desk at work and use it.  My breaks at work usually involve walking and reading while on the treadmill.

14047193_1764749910444551_8774572521258509613_o
Thats me! I mean I’ve got room to lose – but not too bad for a grandma.

HIM:  Not a runner.  Does no physical activity other than being pulled behind our boat occasionally.  Loves junk food – especially potato chips.  Never passes on the ice cream.  Enjoys soda – lots of it.  Huffs and puffs after 1 flight.

img_2644.jpg
That’s him.  He looks great! 

Two weeks into our or weight loss challenge, he’s working out pretty regularly via elliptical trainer and being more careful with the junk food.  I’m running more, sometimes twice a day.  Counting calories.  Salads for practically ever meal.

He complains to me “I’ve only lost 10 pounds and I’m working out ALL the time” (insert EYE ROLL here).  I check the scale.  1 pound.  ONE.  I’ve lost 1 pound.  S E R I O U S L Y??

So I decided to poll my Go Grandma Facebook followers.  They had a thing or two to say on the subject:

First, my solidarity comments:

Lori S.:  Story. Of. My. Life. “We’ll lose weight together; I’m with you on this!

  • What was I thinking, getting into a weight-loss competition – with a man?

Martha L.: The men diet by eating one dessert instead of two and lose 7 pounds.

  • Truth, sister!

Nancy J.: You don’t need to worry, you look great!

  • Ahhhh… thank you Nancy.  The scale says otherwise.

Kimberley F.: I can be so regimented and eat amazingly…workout kickboxing 3 times a week and I see no change. My spouse goes to the gym for 2 weeks harder than normal and he drops it like crazy. If I go any harder at the gym the only thing I will drop is dead. Weight loss after 50 sucks.

  • TRUTH!!  Living that right now.

Then the “what you need to do” comments:

Sherry K:  Is it time to hit the weights & find your measuring tape instead of the scale?

  • Yes – it might be.  Weights are my winter go-to.  Minnesota summer – I want to enjoy it outside – on a run.

Val O: I’ve released 49 lbs. Three words,..Daily Mindset Work. The other thing is, if we are burning more calories than were bringing in, our bodies go into starvation mode and wont release the fat. Drinking enough water is also a factor. It’s made all the difference.

  • “Released”, you say?  Release me from this 50+ year-old body. Water though – I do not drink enough water.

Pauling V.: Drink more water. Flush out that liver and release the fat!

  • More with the water!  I don’t have the time to pee all day.

fd5e158d34f10f21c739ea0b86222b80

Christopher P.:  You can NOT outrun a BAD DIET. Its NOT about the exercise, its ALL about what you eat

  • I love it when a man chimes in on my posts. And solid use of the UPPER CASE.  He has some great suggestions though.

Then came the weight loss program suggestions:

Allison B.:  The Whole 30 Program

  • It’s apparently awesome.  It will “change my life” – according to the website.

Christopher P.: My 100 Pound Weight Loss Journey

  • Well, thankfully I’m just hoping for 20 pounds, not 100.  So I better not do that one!

Then there’s all of the people who have a supplement that guarantees weight loss or will kick start your metabolism or give you more energy.

I’m over ALL OF IT.  Here’s the fact I’m going with.  I am a 50-year-old woman.  Losing weight like I’m 25 is not going to happen.  And AARP agrees:

5 KEY WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT AFTER 50… As with crow’s-feet and varicose veins, you’re simply more susceptible to gaining weight once you hit the big 5-0. And it’s not your imagination: It also becomes increasingly more challenging to shed those pounds once they’ve settled around your hips.

1140-weight-loss-challenge-promo.imgcache.reve1c604d818c8c286e7769a800775613d

There you have it.  AND Here are the 5 ways:

  • Pile on the protein
  • Join the resistance (strength training)
  • Get enough shut-eye
  • Try occasional fasting
  • Practice mindful eating

What I LOVE about all of these suggestions is that they are ALL sustainable.  They’re not fads, you can follow these suggestions forever.  No gimmick.  It’s about a lifestyle adjustment.

I will continue … we’ve got 2 weeks to go.  I’ve lost 3 pounds now.  I actually don’t really care too much.  I know I have a healthy heart and I have lost inches for sure.  He’s lost 15 pounds.  He needed to lose a lot more weight than I did and it is important for his heart – and for our clothing budget.  He needs his suits to fit.

Our WEIGH-IN is the same day we have tickets for the Minnesota State Fair.  That should be a very tasty celebration.

Minnesota+State+Fair

Fitness

Mother-in-Law Relationships

This week I asked Go Grandmas about mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships. I’m quite certain that I couldn’t have asked about a more CONTROVERSIAL topic.  It actually caught me a bit off guard.  There were some STRONG opinions on this.

I adore my sweet mother-in-law.  She has always been kind and loving to me and my children.

11741194_10153982632699881_2242027212742914023_o
My sweet mother-in-law with her first great grandchild.

However, there is a saying:her-life

This slogan has always worried me a little, having no daughters.  I’m not alone in that worry:

Chris S. (Minnesota): As a mom of only boys, it makes me really sad to know that I’ll never hold that “maternal trump card” or be a holiday priority.  I can only hope that my boys find wives who are understanding and hopefully inclusive of me, their mother-in-law.

One Sunday as I sat in church I could hear two young moms whispering behind me complaining about their mothers-in-law.  It hurt me just a little because I knew that a mother-in-law was what I was forever destined to be.

I mean, when was the last time you heard a mean daughter-in-law joke?  NEVER. But mothers-in-law get a bad rap.  Some is deserved but I’m guessing mostly it is not.

7707522ea5a981965368719c9dfe1a44--toxic-people-apple-pies

I vowed I would NEVER be the mother-in-law that would be the subject of negative gossip by my daughters-in-law.  I’ve since learned that you can’t always control that – you make mistakes and I certainly have given my daughters-in-law reasons, on occasion, for eye rolls or perhaps even hurt feelings or a tear.  However, I’m working darn hard to behave myself.

So I asked Go Grandmas what their advice was for building POSITIVE relationships with their daughters-in-law and also how daughters-in-law could do the same with their mothers-in-law.

Here’s some excellent advice from daughters-in-law:

Natalee C. (Minnesota): Daughters-in-law just want to feel understood. On their terms. They want to feel accepted for who they are, what they like, and feel valued and important

Julie C. (Minnesota):  It helps if mothers-in-law not constantly mother their son while visiting. Include your daughter-in-law in conversations and not have your entire visit be focused on your son.

Konnie G. (Minnesota)Support your daughter-in-law by giving them what they need, not what is convenient for you. (Ask them what they need, never assume).  Also don’t tell your daughter-in-law how to parent your grand babies.

Ashley M. (Minnesota): Don’t give advice unless explicitly asked. Don’t boss around your son, especially in front of your daughter in law.

Kate T.: Let your sons go. It’s hard but you need to accept that his wife is the #1 woman in his life now and that’s how it should be

These daughters-in-law have great relationships with their mothers-in-law.  I love what they had to say and how they honor their mothers-in-law:

Stacy A.: My mother-in-law figured out what I hate (taking kids clothes shopping) and she takes them shopping.  They are happy, she’s happy and I’m happy.

Jessica F.: I personally love that my mother in law treats me as if I am her child. I feel I am not just the daughter-in-law. She takes the same pride in me as she does her own son, my accomplishments are hers.  I didn’t just marry my husband, I gained another family

Jeni P.: My MIL is like another mother to me. She loves me dearly and tells me often. She doesn’t get involved in our life issues unless we invite her to. Because of her unconditional love I look forward to spending time with her often and hearing her life experiences.

Sandra B. (Canada):  I love my (mother-in-law) and appreciate (her) so much.

What about the mothers-in-law you ask?  Don’t worry – they had A LOT to say on the matter.  However, their advice seemed to come from places of POSITIVE experience, as well as some admitted trial and error, I’m sure:

Sherry K. (Canada):  Only give information or feedback if you are asked.
Don’t expect to have equal time at Christmas or other special occasions with your son’s family.  Remember that as a mother-in-law you ALWAYS involve your daughter(s)-in-law in planning family activities and time with the littles.   Maternal grandma’s hold the trump card – let it go when your plans are cancelled or changed last minute.  Remember that your son’s first responsibility is his wife and her happiness, and he walks a tight-rope everyday trying to balance everything.  Give your love and attention to all, and carefully build positive relationships with no favorites!

Colleen M. (Minnesota):  Remember that they are now their own family who need to figure out what works best for them in ALL areas. If they ask, I give them my advice. If not, I keep it to myself(mostly).  If one of my kids comes to me complaining about their in-laws I try to help them see the other point of view.

Karla C. (Minnesota): Be honest and don’t take offense.

Andrea G. (Minnesota):  I just try to learn about what interests they have and find a connection, even if it is a small connection with each one. And sometimes feelings get hurt, but hopefully whatever it is it’s not too big to say sorry.

Darnell N. (Minnesota): I don’t interfere or take sides EVER. I give advice if asked but don’t expect them to use it or feel hurt if they don’t use it. I’m thankful they love their spouses and children and happy they tolerate me!

Camille B. (Canada): I have sons and I remember how annoying it was when my husband’s mother interfered. I don’t ever want my daughter’s in law to have those feeling about me. So I say let your sons grow up. Don’t ever demand that your son check in with you about his girlfriend or wife.

Denise B. (Canada):  Be giving, if you want your daughter-in-law to hold space and respect for you, please reciprocate and hold space and respect for her.

Phew!  That is a lot of great advice.

Any new relationship is hard.   I could be wrong but my guess is that most mothers-in-law genuinely want their sons to be happy and truly want a relationship with the love of their son’s life.  I know that’s what I want.

So mothers-in-law, try a little harder to respect that relationship between your son and his wife.  And daughters-in-law, be patient with your mother-in-law.  She has given you her child and just wants a little window into your life once in a while.

Fitness

Avoiding the Rocking Chair

Last week I went to visit the grandchildren in Ohio.  It was a such a wonderful visit filled with walks and PlayDoh and bubbles, along with a little road trip.   I also had my 51st birthday.   Now I’m not saying that I’m old, however I did feel a little old while I was there.  I was still recovering from a bad fall I took while running (I fall a lot) and I also spent a lot of time getting in and out of the back seat of their minivan.  Rocking Grandma

It got me thinking about aging – physically, so I thought I’d ask our Go Grandmas what they’re doing to avoid that rocking chair.  Here are a few of their tips:

Andrea G. (Minnesota): I walk every day in the summer but I’ll need to find indoor exercise before seasons change.

Valora O. (Minnesota): I walk 2 miles a day plus I lift feed bags!

Susan M.:  Stretch, stretch, stretch – and do some form of exercise at least 3X a week. I dance and do isometric exercises and calisthenics and then always stretch afterward.

Sherry K. (Canada): Yoga! I recommend starting in a small hatha yoga class with a mature instructor that is well-versed in accommodations for injuries, who can help you avoid incorrect/bad positioning.   Youtube Fightermaster Yoga

 

I think they’re all on to something – walking and yoga/stretching seem to be the key.  I do my share of walking/running but I struggle with yoga.   When you’re used to arriving at a destination while running, it becomes difficult to calm your mind and body enough to enjoy the benefits of yoga.  Laura Devine at Real Fit Workout Studio got me started with a few yoga classes and I’ve try to continue it on my own.  I’m definitely a believer, just not committed … at least until now!

I found this great article titled Health Aging into your 80’s and Beyond on the Consumer Reports website.  It lists “5 Keys to a Long and Healthful Life”.

The first key is Manage Your Health.   Ok – busted.  I have high blood pressure that is unmanaged.  I just keep calling it chronic high blood pressure or sometimes I call it “white coat syndrome” .  I should probably “manage that.

The next key is “Keeping Your Body Strong“.  I like this quote:

“Here’s a quick test to find out whether your fitness has deteriorated to a point that puts you at risk: Time how long it takes you to get out of an armchair, walk 10 feet, walk back, and sit down again. A healthy adult older than 60 should be able to do it in 10 seconds or less.”

Score!  I can do that in well under 10 seconds.  It then goes on to list a few things you can do to help:

  • Do 150 minutes of cardio every week
  • Add strength training
  • Keep your balance
  • Stay flexible

Well – I’ve got the cardio down no problem – but I don’t lift weights, I have poor balance (proven by my many falls) and I can barely touch my toes.  Check out the link above to find out what the rest of the KEYS are.

Grandmas – I’ve got some work to do.  How about you?